Winter Time Training

3 Tips Guaranteed to Melt that Winter Fat and Prepare You for the Spring Season

It most parts of the country it is the dead winter; which usually means, freezing temperatures and lots of snow, neither of which is very conducive to staying fit or working on your skills.  Luckily I am located in Arizona we don’t have this problem; however, if you are located in on of those cold weather states, I am sure that more often than not you have been confronted with this obstacle.  That were my three winter conditioning tips come; these tips will at worse keep you from gain any unwanted pounds and at best keep you in shape so you don’t have start over from scratch when the season rolls around. 

I don’t know of any better of feeling than stepping on the field for that first day of practice and knowing that you are ready rock!  Not only that but because you have done you winter work you will likely make big improvement in all facets of your game, skills, conditioning, communications, leadership etc…As opposed to have to spend the first month or so of practice “getting back in-shape” that means you working hard to just get back in the condition you used be in, not in better condition.  Option 1# sounds a lot more productive to me. 

So let’s take a look at 3 highly productive drills that can be done indoors, to at worse maintain conditioning and in some instances improve it. 

Tabata Protocol

Tabata protocol is a conditioning protocol developed and studied by Japanese research Dr. Tabata.  He found that performing 20 seconds of max effort or 100% work level followed by 10 seconds of medium to low level work, performed for 4 minute works cycle was an extremely productive method for increase both aerobic and anaerobic fitness. 

Now before you go gang busters with tabata, be for warned that this may very well be the tough 4 minute training session you will ever experience. 
Here’s what it looks like on paper:

Work Interval #1 – 20 sec
Rest Interval #1 – 10sec

Work Interval #2 – 20 sec
Rest Interval #2 – 10sec

Work Interval #3 – 20 sec
Rest Interval #3 – 10sec

Work Interval #4 – 20 sec
Rest Interval #4 – 10sec

Work Interval 5 – 20 sec
Rest Interval #5 – 10sec

Work Interval #6 – 20 sec
Rest Interval #6 – 10sec

Work Interval #7 – 20 sec
Rest Interval #7 – 10sec

Work Interval #8 – 20 sec
Rest Interval #8 – 10sec

The preferred exercises to use with Tabata protocol are as follows:

Thrusters:  these are perform with dumbbell held at shoulder level and then squatting to a down to at least a parallel squat position, upon reaching the “bottom” of the motion you will stand up rapidly and extend arms/dumbbells to over head position.  Then return the dumbbells to shoulder level and repeat movement.

I would recommend most footy players, depending upon fitness level of course, to start with 15-25lbs dumbbell.  Performing Tabata protocol with 35lbs dumbbells is a very solid effort.

Front Squats:  these are performed just as if you were performing standard barbell fronts squats.

I would recommend most footy players, depending upon fitness level of course, to start with 95 – 115lbs of bar weight for front squats.

Tempo Runs:   this is another Tabata application that I have experimenting with lately, it works best if you have a track or outdoor space; however for those of you in inclement regions performing these on a indoor track, basketball court, treadmill, or possibly an elliptical machine. 

The only exception is that instead all out sprints you want to run at about 75-90% max speed during the work intervals and light jog or walk during the rest intervals. 

I have found this to be a great protocol to log some serious distance while maintain an extremely high quality level of work being performed.  Obviously working up to 8 – 20 second all-out sprints would be the goal in this instance.  

• In order for Tabata protocol to be effective you must rigidly abide to the work and rest interval times
• Due to the fairly high levels of fatigue experience during Tabata protocol it would be advisable to train with a partner who count act as a “counter” and “timer”.  Thus all you have to focus on is the exercise
• The general rule of thumb that I use for Thrusters is once I hit 70 reps increase the training load, the method would also be applicable for the front squats as well.

Jump Rope 

Jumping rope is another oldie but a goodie.  It doesn’t get much simpler, than grabbing a piece of rope and jumping over it as you swing it around your body.

Here’s a simple program:

Perform 1 minute work interval jump rope – someone in fairly good condition should be between 120-160 jumps per minute 

Continue to perform 1 minute work intervals until can not maintain a 90% performance of your best jump total for that day or you have completed 10 minutes of work.  Which ever comes first.

Wk 1/2 – 90 second rest intervals
Wk 3/4 – 60 second rest intervals
Wk 5/6 – 30 second rest intervals


Dot Drill

The Dot Drill is s a drill that I share with the Revos a few cycles ago hopefully;  hopefully you can find it productive as well. 


The dot drill is a pattern of movements over the course of a 5 dot apparatus. Within the drill there are 5 different sequences, each sequence is performed in succession to previous and proceeding sequences as quickly as possible. The athlete should complete each sequence 6 time before moving on to the next sequence.  Set-up (see schematic diagram) The dot drill is set up with 5 marking, preferably 5 inches in diameter; however if you do not have access to a dot-drill mat. The drill can be set up with athletic tape markings.  The drill is set in an area that is 3 feet in length by 2 feet in width.  Ideally on a solid surface such as rubberized floor or basketball court.  Make sure that your shoes are tied tight to avoid tripping yourself during the drill.  The complete drill is timed clock is started when athlete first moves and is stopped when athlete completes the last rep of the final sequence.  The drill can be time by the athlete or preferably a training partner.

Performance Ratings:
Good 60 seconds
Great 55 seconds
All-League 50 seconds
All-American 40 seconds
All-World Less than 40 seconds
Dot Drill Schematic

(Aerial View)

D   E


A   B

(You start here, facing the dot pattern)

Performance Guidelines
Perform drill up to 6 repetitions or until you can not perform at a 90% level of you best time of the day

How to Perform Each Sequence
1) First Sequence: Starting position: your left foot is on A and your right foot on B Hop
forward and land on C with both feet then continue forward so that your left foot lands on D
and your right foot lands on E Now go back to the starting position by (hopping backward) in reverse sequence. That's one rep. Repeat for a total of six reps.

2) Second Sequence: From the starting position, On a single leg (Note: start with non-dominant foot) starting at B hop to C, E D C A and back to B That’s one rep. Repeat for a total of six reps.

3) Third Sequence: From the starting position, On a single leg (Note: now using dominant foot) starting at B hop to C, E D C A and back to B That’s one rep. Repeat for a total of six reps.

4) Fourth Sequence: This sequence uses the pattern as the previous two (starting at B hop to C, E D C A and back to B) except now you will perform the pattern with both feet and knees together. Similar
to down slalom skiing. Repeat for a total of six reps.

5) Fifth Sequence: This sequence is identical to the first sequence except: When you reach the top of the pattern (left foot on D and your right foot on E) instead of hopping backward , you will jump spin and land on the same two dots (only now your left foot will be on E and your right foot on D) facing the start position. Then hop forward again hitting C with both feet, then forward so that your left foot on B and your right foot on A To complete the drill jump-spin again to return to the starting position. Stop the clock.  Although you send relatively little time performing this drill I am sure that you will find it a challenge and good workout.

I am sure that many of you may have heard the hardcore Marine mantra – “fatigue makes cowards out of all of us” well this mantra also applies on the footy field as player becomes fatigued it affects all aspect of his game; kicking, decision making, “talk” etc… to put it simply the player will generally take the “easy route” when onset with fatigue.  Which is why it conditioning is so imperative; and that’s why conditioning needs to be addressed in the winter as well. 

Implementing any or all of the three drills from above will not only help you maintain you condition throughout the winter but also allow you accelerate your conditioning into upcoming season.  Hard work and preparation during the off-season are sure to  pay dividends in the form of another successful season for you and your team!

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